THE FUTURE of the transatlantic alliance between KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest Airlines has again been thrown into doubt, following the apparent failure of the two airlines to agree on whether the tie-up should be expanded.

The latest wrangle has reportedly prompted KLM to consider dissolving the tie-up altogether, despite the fact that it clearly benefits both airlines.

Northwest is continuing to voice its concern that the Dutch carrier wants to take a controlling stake in the US airline, a prospect which prompted it in 1995 to introduce a "poison pill" defence (Flight International, 22-29 November 1995).

"We want only one thing, that's to expand the alliance," says John Dasburg, Northwest's president, in an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. "However, KLM wants one thing and that is an overall control in Northwest," he adds. KLM declines to comment on Dasburg's remarks.

Northwest and Air China have agreed to enter a marketing pact - the first codeshare agreement between major US and Chinese air carriers. The memorandum of understanding covers various joint activities including schedule coordination, code-sharing, computer reservation systems, through check-in and sales and marketing efforts.

Source: Flight International